The Four Tiers of Character Depth

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The Four Tiers of Character Depth

Postby Dice » Sat Aug 22, 2015 12:06 am

So I'm not always a fan of writing exercises, but this one really impressed me with the value it adds to designing characters who are realistic and, moreover, dynamic!

The essential idea is that you build off these four concepts:

1. The Goal: This is the superficial achievement the character is shooting for.
2. The Motivation: This is the emotional reason the character wants to achieve that goal.
3. The Deep Dark Belief: This is the belief that leads the character to the motivation.
4. The Origin of the Belief: This is the event(s) that caused the character to develop their belief.

For an example with my own PC, when I started playing Ariel, his initial goal was to become a famous and renowned bard. The motivation was because he needed validation and confirmation of himself as a worthwhile and talented person, because deep down, he believed that he wasn't and that he would never amount to anything. The origin of this belief was being denied by House Orban as one of their members and growing up poor and isolated, seen as unworthy of his family's legacy (and other events I won't spoil here!)

This conflict really propelled him forward into all the crazy twists and turns of his story, and even now with that initial starting goal total ashes, I'd say the basic pattern of the four tiers still fits how I play him - and how he's still interesting to me after so long.

I really recommend going through this with any PC, especially a new one!
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Re: The Four Tiers of Character Depth

Postby Kinaed » Sat Aug 22, 2015 10:04 am

I like that article and the above synopsis, and intend on using it in my writing. Thanks!

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