Physical character abilities

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Physical character abilities

Post  Sana on Wed Apr 04, 2012 3:53 am

I've decided to put this here since these are not rules per-say, but more as a guide I thought of doing due to this consistent problem I see in the dream. I thought I might comment and see if anyone else has anything to say.

Most of the time when there's an issue that's met with a character, it's their ridiculous amount of strength or combat-aptitude that the character has not obtained or have any real way of knowing. I perfectly understand why people want strong characters; fighting and martial arts is cool, and it's mesmerizing to play a character whose strength is enough to override whatever personal weakness they may have. However, as far as this continuity is concerned, I believe that players should attempt to better establish the whys and hows of their characters rather than just pasting abilities on.

Physical strength and endurance is acquired, not naturally bestowed. There are people who are naturally better and worse at sports than others, however, simply having an innate talent is not enough to carry your character through a difficult situation. Instead of just adding strength to a character's list of qualities, think why they would have this; do they work out a lot? Do they participate in a sport? This makes more a much stronger character, as the physical prowess has a reason to be there instead of being just an accessory.

Additionally, physical strength does not stay forever once it's attained; it needs to be kept up. Think of Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was once a great body builder, however, since his change into politics, he has gotten 'saggy' for lack of a better word, as his previous position as governor did not give him time to work out and keep his build. The same should go for your characters; if they are to stay physically fit, what are they doing in order to keep their body type?

Fighting skill does not come with physical strength. This is one thing I see often. Sometimes people do go so far as to explain why their character is strong and how they keep it up, but then automatically derive that because of this, their character would have knowledge of complex martial arts, or at least be adept enough to ward off a group. This is simply not true. Someone who is strong, but their fighting experience came from random bar fights, would be beaten by one who is a master of karate, simply because a martial arts master knows how exactly to channel his strength and use it effectively.

Health attributes can be a factor! Many people like thin and even underweight characters, but forget that muscle weighs more than fat, and thus a well defined characters would weigh more. Weight issues also will not do favors for your character, as those who are underweight generally have much less endurance and strength, and are prone to feeling lightheaded, which would further hurt their skill. Adding in other issues such as insomnia, depression, etc. would further damage your characters endurance. Think of your character as a whole and not in individual parts; if my character has sleeping issues, how would sleeping issues from PTSD affect my character's health? Just some examples.

But above all, make sure your character is human. Manny Pacquiao, arguably one of the light-weight best boxers in the world, is able to lift more than double his own weight. However, it is doubt your 20 year old female weighing in at 120 pounds with no training experience would be able to do this. Simple because something is possible for man to do does not make it automatically possible for your character, and this should be taken into account when you're writing out your character.

And these are my tips in my hastily written ramble. Feel free to comment if anything strikes you.
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