View Full Version : RP for Newbies: Writing a Character Description

July 14th, 2010, 08:41 AM
Having a character description can really be a useful tool in RP - because the mud is all text, it helps to give people a frame of reference for interactions with your character. If you haven't written creatively before, they can be a little daunting. As with a character history, it helps if you sit down and ask yourself some basic questions:

>What is your character's race:
>What is your character's sex:
>Does your character appear to be of average height for their race?
>Does your character appear to be of average weight for their race?
>Does your character appear to be of average build for their race?
>Is there a physical characteristic people are most likely to notice first about your character?
>What color is your hair?
>What length is your hair (close cropped, shoulder length, mid back, etc)?
>What texture is it (Silky, rough)?
>How is your hair worn? (Loose, braided, etc.)?
>What color are your eyes (please be very specific)?
>What shape are your eyes (Almond, catseyes, human round, small, etc.)?
>What tone is your skin? (Pale, golden, tanned, leathery, grayish, albino, etc.)
>Do you have any visible scars? If so, what do they look like, and where are they?
>Do you have any visible tattoos? If so, what do they look like, and where are they?
>Do you have any visible birthmarks, moles, etc? If so, what do they look like, and where are they?
>Do you have any visible piercings, brandings, tribal marks, etc.? If so, what do they look like, and where are they?
>Do you have any special jewelry, heraldic ensignia, clothing, or other worn items of note?
>Do you wear armor? street-clothes? magical robes? Feminine or masculine style of dress?
>What predominant colors do you wear?
>Is your clothing designed for : concealment - outdoors, concealment - city environment, court, etc?
>What level of wealth does your apparel hint at?
>What visible weapons do you wear?
>Do you have a specific reputation for anything?
>Do you have a pet or totem animal that should appear in your description?
>What are five adjectives that would describe the first impressions others would have of you. *
*Examples: fearful, bold, shy, confident, courageous, quick-tempered, aloof, gregarious, friendly, scornful, angry, calm, energetic, quiet, subdued, etc.

Using these questions can help you shape what you want to convey. A description isn't just the physical appearance of the character - but can also convey the emotional presence as well. Here's some examples of descriptions. (Please don't take these and use them - they belong to existing characters.)


A powerful example of his race, this Ogre stands at the ready, his massive hands
never straying too far from his weapons. His armour and clothing isn't much to
speak of, as if he distains the implied weakness of fighting with more than the
gifts nature has given him already. His hair is long, dark, and greasy, falling
to nearly shoulder length. It is tied back from his face with a bit of leather
thong, making the horrific scars that run from scalp to collarbone all the more
obvious. His eyes are the color of spilled blood, and glare at you with a deeply
felt loathing and hatred for nearly all of mortal-kind.


At first glance, she calls to mind the dusky, cool tones of a winter's
sunset; tones of blue and purple cast upon the blinding snow, icy, and
crystalline. Yet despite the impressions of palette and reserve, those
inquisitive violet eyes hold both warmth and welcome that no season of
barrenness and death could ever withstand. Tall for her race and more
slender than most swans, Faile has the lithe grace of a rapier wielded
by a master swordsman. Though her form is youthful and strong, an aura
of wisdom, experience and calm confidence surrounds her.

Gleaming silver tips each feather upon her wings, creating exquisitely
artistic contrast with the flowing ash-gray, floor-length, spider-silk
velvet cloak clasped about her slender throat. She mantles her crest,
the feathers rustling softly with the movement, and dips slightly in a
movement akin to a curtsey or even the steps to an ancient and courtly
dance. One claw-tipped wing is extended out and back, her head lowers,
the silver-touched silk cascade of her snowy hair slides like a water-
fall over one shoulder.... but yet her eyes remain on yours, watchful,
ever curious.

'Wind beneath thy wings and good fortune to your travels,' she chirps
in a musical voice. Rising from the curtsey, she smiles and is on her


The lean, muscular build of the man before you, coupled with his
tanned skin and dappled green and black garb is instant evidence
of his love for the outdoors. Friendly green eyes the same shade
as oak leaves in the spring meet yours with an easy to see depth
of honesty and integrity. Just below one of those eyes, a narrow
scar shows his life has not been one of ease or safety. Shoulder
length hair the color of warm maple syrup falls in a silken flow
down his neck, partially restrained by a braid on either side of
his angular, rugged face. The quirky grin and easy-going look on
his face show this is no vicious brute, but someone the young of
the realm and his friends can trust, and turn to for help.

He lifts his hands to show them empty of weapons and in greeting,
revealing an elongated, darkly inked tattoo of a spider upon one
hand, and a brilliant, rich-looking golden band upon the other.
When he speaks, his voice is quiet, pitched low from a hunter's
long habit of not scaring off prey in the woods.

'I am Nunzio. Well met.'


The human thief who stands before you crosses his arms over his chest and
stares back at you with dark brown eyes. "Yeah? What can I do for you?"
His hair is long and black, spilling over his thick shoulders. While he
is not very tall, his body shows the muscles built up from years of fighting
A pouch full of thieves lock-picking tools can be seen hanging from his
belt, and while he has not learned all there is to know in the profession,
he seems like a diligent student of those lessons he has been taught.
This young man could be a good friend to those who are worthy, but an
equally determined enemy to any who cross him.


I usually recommend writing your description in WordPad or Notepad. If you are using another word processing program, change the font to Courier 10. This will emulate the base font of the Mud, and will help you see how the description will look on the mud. I always prep my document for writing descriptions by entering a string of characters that show me the 80 line maximum (prior to text wrapping) that the mud will display. This is another tool to make sure the description will look right when it's entered on the mud. Here's an example of what I mean:

desc + 12345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890 123456789012345678901234567890
desc + The aara swan before you has the tense, nervous poise of a creature ready to
desc + take flight. Her glittery black eyes are wild with uncomfortable fear at being
desc + so close to another who is not kin, and the tips of her green and blue fletched
desc + wings twitch with repressed desire to flee. With the slight, delicate build of
desc + her race, this aara maiden ducks her head shyly and blinks. A tear gleams at
desc + the corner of her eye... but then you realize it is not a tear, but rather a
desc + mark in the shape of two teardrops intertwined, the symbol of Lord Tokugawa's
desc + Order when He lead mortals upon a Balanced path. She touches it pensively,
desc + and her wings droop slightly, remembering and mourning its loss. With a easily
desc + seen resolve, she forces her chin back up, and smooths her feathers with one
desc + clawed hand. This adopted sister into House Beoluve knows fear and sorrow, but
desc + knows and seeks the courage to overcome it each day.

Because none of the lines extend past the last 0 on my 'testing' line, I know it won't wrap funny when I enter it on the mud. The "DESC +" is the command required to send the line to the mud. (read HELP DESC if you need further help on that.) I always start descriptions with a blank line, to help separate it visually from other things you may have looked at or other mud messages, just prior to looking at the description.

Hope this helps - enjoy!


July 14th, 2010, 09:45 AM
This is really great! Thanks for posting these helpful files.

July 15th, 2010, 08:24 AM
Glad to help. :)

July 29th, 2010, 09:44 AM
If there are folks who would like some help writing their character description, I am glad to help. You can either send me an inital draft and I'd be glad to give suggestions, or you can fill out the questionnaire in the initial post and IM me with the info and I'll write up a first draft. :)

August 12th, 2010, 12:44 PM
I'm sad sad sad... my description didn't make it on here! :( Maybe Cordir, if you write me a new one where I look prettier (even though that seems impossible) I will be worthy. :) :-p

August 13th, 2010, 08:50 AM
(All the ones I quoted, I wrote... so as not to run into copyright issues with other authors... that's why I didn't include other descs. There's a lot of really beautiful descriptions out there, but to avoid problems, I only used ones I wrote. I gave myself permission. ;) ) If you'll fill out that questionnaire in my initial post and email it to me, I'd be delighted to make an attempt. Though I'll be honest - the one you have is already quite impressive, and I would be hard put to improve upon it.

February 17th, 2011, 06:05 PM
Here's mine:

The man before you displays almost a cocky-over confidence perfected by years of troublemaking
in his youth. A long scar crosses his cheek, a constant reminder of a City Guard enraged by an act
of petty vandalism as a child. Vowing one day repay this act of cruelty he spent hour after hour of his
teenage years perfecting his physique unloading casks of ale and mead at the Mage's bar.
Tattoos of a nude elf princess adorn each forearm and account for his lifetime ban from Loth-Lorien.
His hair, what is left of, it is closely cropped. His voice is gravely and baritone, from the pipe he
carries in his pocket. Despite his troubled youth he vowed to follow the path of good in exchange
for a prayer answered by Boromir for a miraculous escape from a dark prison cell in depths of Delving
after being caught attempting to desecrate the fountain in the Dwarven chapel on drunken dare.
Old faded scars on his wrists shaped like shackles show at the edges of his armor.

February 19th, 2011, 06:17 AM
All right, all right, i'll write a description already....


February 21st, 2011, 09:29 AM
Or, you can pay me 10k, and I'll write one for ya. :)

August 22nd, 2011, 10:08 AM
So, I did a description writing thingy the weekend before last. I'm pleased to say three folks took me up on my offer. I'm willing to extend it: If you'd like a description written, fill out the questionnaire above, and email it to me. My email address is Cordir (at) hotmail (dot) com. I'll see what I can come up with :)

August 22nd, 2011, 06:05 PM
I've seen a few and what I have seen is -gorgeous-. Your work always amazes me!

August 24th, 2011, 11:32 AM

I used to have a description that Cordir was not fond of.
She 'convinced' me to change it and graciously offered to craft one for me. I accepted of course :D

My old description? ....



November 15th, 2011, 07:34 AM
I'm reiterating my offer to help anyone who would like a description. Fill out the questionnaire in the first post of this thread and email it to me (Cordir@hotmail.com) and I'll gladly write something up for you.

December 24th, 2011, 01:39 AM
new desc I wrote this week for Troy:

The blatantly arrogant smirk on the face of the man before you - and the
comfortable way he wears his expensively made but heavily scarred armor-
(almost as if he practically lives in the stuff) is a clear indicator of
his confidence in his abilities. His expression is one of cocky and bold
appraisal, looking everyone over to see what sort of threat or challenge
they might bring. Whether at rest or moving at a swift pace through the
forest, there is a sense of energy and a restless, constant vigilance in
him. The silver crescent-shaped blade he bears is instantly recognizable:
Qual'Minai, a legendary sword crafted by one of the Hundred. The bright
metal stands out in bold contrast against the crimson red and ebon black
of his robes, which bears an Ebon Sigil Odegra gripped in the fangs of a
hunting hound above his heart. Loyal servant of the Wyld Hunt, he walks
the path of Chaos, servant to the Wyld.

January 13th, 2012, 09:22 AM
I'm reiterating my offer to help anyone who would like a description. Fill out the questionnaire in the first post of this thread and email it to me (Cordir@hotmail.com) and I'll gladly write something up for you.

Reiterating this offer. Had some folks ask on mud recently. :)

December 9th, 2012, 08:47 PM
Yep. This. Descriptions. People should have them.

February 4th, 2013, 09:18 AM
Some recent descriptions I've written. If you want one, fill out the questionnaire and email it to me!

To stand in Her presence is to be rendered speechless: This is no mere mortal,
but the quintessential seductress, potent in her ripe perfection, incarnate in
her beauty. Lilith herself pales in comparison: the gleaming scarlet luster of
Her eyes, the tawdry tumble of Her long sable hair -- as if just risen from an
evening's pleasures...dangerous sensuality is a tangible aura around her, like
the corona of the full moon. Voluptuous curves to make any heart pound, grace
of a stalking leopard, this is not a woman who can be underestimated. Her prey
is delight and sacrifice and sustenance, Scions enraptured in their service to
Her. The particulars of Her ensemble are nearly irrelevant save for the loving
way that an inky velvet gown enfolds Her, falling in regal folds to the ground,
and leather caresses her, drawing in an already narrow waist. The rarest gems
and metals have been crafted into elegant jewelry that cannot compete with Her
beauty, and the delicate flutter of the wings of bats flitting about Her makes
a living, chittering frame to draw every eye. Ancient but untouched by Time, a
power to stir the dreams of the living, She is the gatekeeper of Death itself:
unliving yet utterly alive, undead yet filled with every passion of existence.

If Hell itself had a champion, it would look much like the unholy figure
that towers over you. Dressed from head to toe in black plate armor, the
unrelieved sable continues in the inky wings that arch upward. Weapons,
shield, and armor alike bears the evidence of battle - blood dripping in
a steady stream to pool at his feet. Thick shouldered, bearing the signs
of two gods - Kerriariadne and Katrana - worn still around his wrists, a
clearer picture of violence could not be drawn. His multi-hued hair - an
uninteresting brown at the top, fading to a pale white at the ends - has
been braided back, to stay out of his eyes during combat. His eyes seem
unusually dark, shadowed, until he lifts his head with an evil laugh, an
unopposed view granted of the burned holes that are all that remains. It
is a horrifying sight and he laughs at your discomfort. His crossed arms
draw your eye to the holy symbols still worn around his wrists: That of
Katrana and Kerriariadne - the gods that shaped him the most strongly.

As he returns your stare, you feel a strange tugging in your chest - a
sense of emptiness... as if, by his presence alone, he could steal that
which is most precious - your very essence. With a smirk and a flick of
his fingers, he releases his playful tugging on your spirit... For now.

It is impossible to look anywhere else, but Her eyes: Indigo and sable entwined
like serpents in a coil, Incarna and woman, antimony and cynosure. Their weight
falls upon you, and within them is more than you can bear to witness. Millenia
of existence, all clearly writ: love, loss, growth, change, oblivion, awakening.
As day follows night, and by the sun's rays all is transformed, so has the Lady
changed: Gone are the shadows and flame, bloody tatters and open wounds. Clear,
but cold, She stands before you, like the deadly blade of a bared weapon or the
flame dancing atop a candle. That which was lost has been refound, and with it,
a new measure of sorrow carried within. This transformation is more than simply
mystical -- Her form is noticeably more youthful, the weight of the ages fallen
away, like a phoenix reborn. Ageless, now, not ancient, the lines and wrinkles
gone from Her face. Pale as moonlight, unscarred - save for Her hands which yet
bear a hundred lines for the hundred oaths sworn. Slender as a sword, She moves
with the grace of the turning stars. Only those red-rimmed eyes betray Her, and
the shocking ruin of Her once-long hair, severed in mourning to shoulder length.
All that was, all that is, all that will yet - or never be - it is Her Now. She
is Weaver of and Woven into the Pattern itself, webspinner and web. Eternal and
aware, She stands before you.

April 26th, 2013, 07:16 AM
Announcing a Random Contest. At various points during the next 7 calendar days, I will be on TFC. I will ask (ok: most likely summon) all mortals present to come to the Room of Records. Those who have a personal description (and by that, I mean more than a single line, or song lyric, but an actual *description*) will be rewarded. These events will occur at random intervals. People can/will be rewarded for their description more than once, if they happen to be on when I do this.

Have a description, get Kewl Lewts. (Did I say that right, Ink?)

April 30th, 2013, 07:50 AM
k3w1 13\/\/+$ ::up::

May 13th, 2013, 07:13 AM
As he notices your gaze, Wish nods pleasantly in return, his dark eyes meeting
yours. It's honestly hard not to stare: his eyes are unusually large, as deep
and bottomless as the sea itself, gazing back at you from a face - and body -
covered in dynamic tattoos that shift and respond to his every thought. He is
clearly Elven in bloodline, from the delicate curved tips of his ears, to the
wiry grace of broad shoulders, narrow hips and long legs. His hands draw your
eye; lithe and strong, though stained at the fingertips from mixing tinctures.
The clothing he wears is a motley mixture of the ritualistic and the sybaritic,
worn with a confidence and ease that creates a pleasing whole. Only the slight
trace of pastry crumbs upon his robe distract from the overall impression of
intellect, grace, and strength.

(More proof that Boromir's meme is a fib. You really can just ask me for a description.)