Character Creation and Design

(with Kat Jones)

May 30, 2021

A wealth of new research about tabletop roleplaying games (RPGs) offers a new way to approach character development. Fiction writers and narrative artists—whether emerging theatre performers, seasoned Dungeons and Dragons players, or novelists stuck on that one slippery character—have much to learn from RPGs, particularly the unique opportunities they present to design characters in isolation from plot and setting.

This workshop approaches character creation through the field of game studies and through fan engagements with tabletop RPGs. Beginning with an interactive presentation on the basics, we will turn to common debates regarding character creation (representing experiences not your own; embodying characters to better understand them) and make space for collective discussion. The workshop will culminate in an opportunity for participants to share and develop their own characters and to discuss how we can develop characters that are whole and embodied.

This workshop is for you if you’ve ever thought, “I’m not much of an artist. How can I use my own skills to develop characters?” or “I just don’t understand step-by-step frameworks for making characters. How can I approach the process differently?”

One-week workshop:

  • Sunday, May 30 (1pm–4pm EST/UTC-5)

Required preparation: Attendees should bring to the workshop an idea for a character, whether a rough sketch or a fairly developed design they want to tweak or seek feedback on. Also welcome are questions about or problems with character design.

Suggested skill level: beginner and up

Seats available: 12

Workshop fee: CAN$45

Kat Jones is a writer, visual artist, theatre maker and Film Studies graduate student currently based at Concordia University in Montreal. Last year, she published her short story “Red Light” in long con as well as presented her research on uncanny sound in animation at University of King’s College’s conference of the contemporary. Prior to her graduate work, she produced and designed multiple theatre productions for the King’s Theatrical Society and Atlantic Fringe. She has been writing and designing characters for more than eight years. During the pandemic, her interests shifted to character design for games that can be played long-distance, such as Dungeons and Dragons, in which the focus is on character creation for the collaborative purposes of live role play.