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Character Development in Email Sims

Section One:   The History
   
Some players consider the Personal History to be the most difficult of the sections of a Bio Sheet to fill in.  How does one determine where his character has been before?  Is there a formula for it?  Or is it perfectly random?  All good questions... hopefully with good answers.  I will attempt to answer some of these for you.  But remember... these are only my opinions as one experienced Simmer.  Other old Simmers might have other ways.  Each is equally valid.  And with time and experience, you may well formulate your own means of producing one of these that matches none of those used by myself or others you have read.  That is perfectly wonderful!  As long as it works for you and produces a Quality Bio.
    Now, to the first Question.  Is there a specific Formula for creating Histories?  Not necessarily.  But there are Questions that can be asked that will help you to define the details of the character's background in clear means.  They are as follows:

    Childhood History
   
1.    Who were the character's parents?

    2.    What was the character's relationship with them?  Did they have a loving and harmonious family life?  Or was it more strife than anything else?

    3.    What schools did he/she go to?  Was the character at the top, bottom, or somewhere in the middle of his/her classes?  Did they have an easy or hard time relating to the other students?

    4.    Did the character show early development of any unique talents or skills?  Were they a child prodigy?  Or were they fairly average with only a single distinguishing skill?

    Young Adult History
   
1.    Did the character go on to college?  Or did they go straight to StarFleet Academy?  Or did they choose another path out of High School and later go to the Academy?

    2.    Were there any personal relationships that marked this phase of the character's life?  Romances (whether failed or successful)?  Friends that the character still has contact with?

    3.    Did the character earn any Awards while in the Academy?  Again, was he/she at the top, bottom, or somewhere in the middle of his/her classes?  Did he/she distinguish him/herself in any of his/her classes?

  4.    What were the character's choices of extra-curricular activities?  Was he/she a sports nut?  Or were they more passively artistic (such as writing or painting or the like)?  Or did they like both active and passive?  Were they theatrical?

    5.    Did the character graduate the Academy straight up or with honors or high honors?

    6.    Were there any "dark marks" on the character's record during his/her stay at the Academy?  Any incidents that might come back later to haunt him/her?  Perhaps an enemy he/she made there?

    And if the Character is to be higher Rank... his/her StarFleet History
   
1.    What Rank will the character be starting the Sim with?

    2.    If higher than Ensign, he/she has likely served on other StarFleet vessels before the current assignment.  Which ones?  These may be derived at random (see the Daystrom Institute Technical Library ? www.ditl.org for a complete list of Ships of the Federation) or names may be made up by you, the player.  Technically, either is legitimate.

    3.    How long did he/she serve on each one?

    4.    Did they establish any lasting or important relationships while on any of these?  Romantic or friendship?

    5.    Is the character still in contact with any of these people?

    6.    And last, but certainly not least, what has made the character choose this assignment (this is in character... not you, the player)?  Did it intrigue him/her?  Was it a logical choice for career move?  Or did it just sound... cool?

    These are not, by far, the only Questions that can be touched in a Biography.  But they are a start.  Answering them sometimes leads me to other things I want known about my characters.  So this is a good beginning.

By FSF Filra
11/15/2001