Character Creation

September 28, 2014 Other

My first two training RPG analogies were New Game + and Level Up. This is my third one, Character creation.

Jujimufu sketch, Jujimufu drawing, D&D character sheet

Want a sweet character portrait too? (click to see large version) Contact my artist friend andrea.rodolfo.nadia @ gmail.com (without the spaces)

Crux of the character creation idea:

Create, equip and role play a uniquely suited character for the things that you do.


The RPG version of the character creation:

Step 1: Identify the enemy

A flesh golem with resistance to magic and blunt force. Weak against sharp weapons.

Jujimufu, video games, flesh golem

  • Flesh golems hide along walking trails and ambush people who walk their dogs.
  • Flesh golems eat dogs and have vocabularies restricted to 3 and 4 letter words.

Step 2: Create a suitable character to beat the enemy

A warrior character named “Plenis” (pronounced Plee-nis) for brute strength. Plenis wields a long, sharp weapon.

Jujimufu, videogames, Plenis

  • Plenis pets other people’s dogs for inappropriately long amounts of time while sauntering on public walking paths.
  • Plenis does not like curse words: do not curse around Plenis.

Step 3: Equip the character

  • Plenis wears a full body compression garment with pink fur armor.
  • Plenis has a blade named “Plenis Jr.”
  • Plenis wears a generic skull amulet around his neck that increases his strength by +1 points.

Step 4: Use the character

Plenis is going to butter his long, hot knife and flesh through some golems. Oops. I mean… Plenis is going to cut through flesh golems like a hot knife through butter.

Jujimufu, videogames, Plenis attack!


A real life version of the character creation:

Step 1: Identify the task or problem

A chest workout that uses a mix of cable flyes, hex presses, and banded barbell incline presses. The presses put a lot of stress on the wrists and elbows.

Step 2: Create a suitable character to do the task

A bodybuilder named Oat Grommet who never trains legs.

  • Oat only trains his chest.
  • Oat’s destiny is huge chest pumps.
  • Oat loves touching, feeling and squeezing his pecs.
  • Oat is a master of chest fly exercises of all kinds. Rings, cables, dumbbells. All kinds.
  • Oat loves the hex press
  • Oat actually uses an ammonia inhalant before every working set of hex press…
  • Oat sometimes does up to 10 working sets of hex press in a single chest workout.
  • Oat does the side chest pose after almost every set he does.
  • Oat measures his chest before and after every workout. He’s obsessed.
  • Oat likes doing the “pec dance”
  • Oat maniacally chews gum with his mouth wide open during training.
  • Oat has been banned from Planet Fitness locations all around his area.

Step 3: Equip the character

  • Oat will wear compression elbow sleeves for support.
  • Oat will wear wrist wraps for wrist support.
  • Oat wears his favorite pair of baggy pants to hide his small legs.
  • Oat wears a stringer tank top to show off his pec development.
  • Oat’s stringer tank top has a cartoon of a mouse on it.
  • Oat wears a fanny pack and keeps ammonia inhalants, gum, electrolyte tablets, tape measure (for measuring pec size) and his portable music device inside.
  • Oat only listens to thrash metal with absolutely no melodic or progressive influences.
  • Oat will sometimes listen to one thrash metal song on repeat during his whole workout.

Step 4: Use the character

Oat would be a superior character to play when the goal is to grow a beefy chest. Do you want to grow a bigger chest? Then create an exaggerated character that shares many similarities with Oat.


Tips for character creation

Create a couple characters

While Oat Grommet would be a great character to play for chest training, he would suck for tricking, training squats, doing homework or picking up chicks. It’s best to create different characters for different things. Start by selecting just a couple things you might want characters for. Then look at this list to help you create that character:

  • Name:
  • Date Created:
  • Profession & Purpose:
  • Goal:
  • Times, Seasons, Locations:
  • Costume / Colors / Equipment:
  • Skills:
  • Favorite songs or playlists:
  • Habits:
  • Likes:
  • Story:
  • Limitations:

Create specialist characters

Don’t create a paladin type character, who is kinda good at magic and kinda good at hand to hand combat. These mixed characters are a poor choice because… basically they just don’t seem to work very well from my experience. So only create specialist characters. Like a wizard for great magic, and then create a fighter for great hand to hand combat. In fact, be more specific. Two wizards: one for black magic and one for white magic. Our real life version? Create several tricking characters. One for gym sessions, one for outdoor sessions. Or perhaps a character only for certain tricks: a kicking character, a flipping character, a ground moves character. Every character should have their own catalog of distinctions. I recommend starting by creating just two highly specialist, unique characters.

Equipment matters

Whether you like it or not, this is true: if you equip for it, you’ll feel like it. Let’s use power lifting as an example. Want to get better at the power lifts? Dress like a power lifter when you do the power lifts. Go get a singlet, a belt, some deadlifting socks, and some ammonia. Don’t buy into that minimalism bullshit like I did in my mid twenties, minimalists suck at almost everything, especially training. Spend some money on gear. Look, you’ll feel like a power lifter when you’re equipped like one, but that’s not enough: you have to also act like a power lifter when it’s time to power lift.

Acrobolix, powerlifting equipment, ammonia inhalant

Emulating idiosyncrasy

Continuing with our powerlifter example:

  • Watch the way powerlifters sit around: they usually sit and recline back between sets and take up lots of space.
  • Watch what they do while they rest between sets: they usually relax heavily and move slowly.
  • Watch the way they approach the bar or setup: its very methodical and consistent. They do it the same EXACT way every time.
  • Watch the way they put on their belts and wraps: they’re always meticulous and careful how they put them on.

There is way, way more technique going on in everything that a powerlifter does than simply the act of executing their power lifts. These are things that aren’t written down in their programs, it comes from hanging out with them and paying attention to what they do outside their lifts. These details can be extremely important.

Fully become the character

Seriously, when you powerlift stop being a trickster or some hobbyist, hybrid athlete. Abandon your alternatives entirely. Become a thoroughbred power lifter when you power lift by doing what they do, by being what they are in their entirety. You will get better at the powerlifts if you transform into a powerlifter when you powerlift. Maintain that same penchant for exclusivity for when you go trick, bodybuild, or whatever else.

Give the character time to develop

It can take a little while for a character to make a distinct emergence. My best characters were not born complete overnight, their details were realized through evolution, one play at a time. Just recognize the details when they announce themselves. Once you create and begin playing a new character, you will make incremental changes as the character grows the more you play that character.

Rely on the character

As of writing this, I am currently using 3 specialized training characters. When it’s time to deadlift, for example, I put on my lucky pants. That’s part of my deadlifting character’s equipment. When I put those pants on, I reflect upon the dozens of successful workouts I’ve done in them. I have a playlist of my favorite deadlifting songs. I have my own way of deadlifting. On any particular day I’m unsure whether I can pull hard and heavy deadlifts, I focus on becoming my deadlifting character, and it’s all taken care of for me.

Rotate, retire, suspend and evolve your characters

I have many characters, but most I use only seasonally, or I have finished using them forever. Characters change because needs and circumstances change.


MBTI, Personality, Destiny, Beliefs… SHIT!!!

Let’s go beyond the scope of training characters and talk about… who we are for a moment.

When we play an RPG we call upon the right character for the right job, yet when we play life we usually use the same character for every job and we believe in things like “our strengths” and “our weaknesses”. We believe in MBTI, Enneagram and other personality theories as if they were our destiny. They’re not destiny, they’re just stories from a story book.

The degree to which we believe in these stories determines whether they becomes advantageous or a handicap. For example, MBTI says I’m INTJ. When I learned this in my early twenties I used this discovery to excuse my weaknesses. Some of my weaknesses were: shy and awkward with women, over planner, cold and detached, perfectionist. I allowed it to handicap me.

As I grew into my late twenties, I realized victimizing myself based on my MBTI test results was preventing me from growing up. So I began using personality theories to identify what makes other types good at things that I was not good at, then I began emulating them to my advantage. Most tricksters who meet me think I’m highly extroverted and perceiving (E–P) because I began playing other types in situations where those other types were advantageous. I began acting like someone I thought I was not. I acted differently than the only character I ever knew how to play (the INTJ). Finally, I did this long enough (years) until these performances just became new versions of me. I stopped believing I was acting altogether. Being an INTJ was great in private, but it was terrible in non-professional social settings. So now I play an ESFP when it’s time to party and the ENTJ when it’s time to lead people. These two types cover all of my social needs. While playing these types, I realized it was like playing other “characters” in a role playing game. I’m no longer an INTJ, I’m any type I practice and play, for anything I need or want to do.

It makes complete sense to me. I play the wizard when I need magic, I play the fighter when I need to fight, I play the cleric when I need to heal people. I play whichever role I need to play when I need it. I create, equip and role play uniquely suited characters for anything I want. Which of these characters is the real me? All of them. They’re all real and they’re all really me.

52 comments

  1. Jon Call says:

    Thanks Andreas for the fantastic and fun cartoons! 🙂

  2. Armando says:

    i never understood why if you put your cursor over the jryst banner it says “my favourite character”, now i get it!!!
    also i’m sure the banshee laugh it’s a hell of a skill lol

    • Jon Call says:

      Wow, only old-school friends of mine would remember that hidden easter egg! Thanks for being a friend for so long Armando!

  3. Fabs says:

    Juji, do you TRPGs like Dungeons and Dragons or Pathfinder?

    • Jon Call says:

      Actually never played them but I suppose if I had a group of local friends who were into it, and also into training, we’d be TRPG’ing it up on the regular. 🙂

    • Flip says:

      Hej Karen! Intressant! Tror du att danskar överlag tycker att artsebgivaren inte har med det att göra eller tror du att det är en väldigt svensk läggning att ta på sig ansvar för andra människors livsföring?

  4. Valvolt Nova says:

    To complete the analogy, I should say that we become great Paladins after we’ve been both good Warriors AND good Healers. We don’t become great Paladins if we keep being Paladins every single time. We need to polish cross-class skills thanks to a temporary class shift, then we’ll find them in our Paladin spellbook. 🙂

    BTW I hate Paladins. They are so friggin OP in every game!
    Warriors are way cooler, especially when they mindlessly and recklessly charge everything in sight. XD

    • Jon Call says:

      Nice! Thanks. Yes you said it well. And it fits right along with my thoughs on linear periodizing your training for buff tricking. For me, to be a buff trickster, I had to alternate in large blocks. Could never build a buff physique and trick well all at the same time year round. Tried that for years, never worked. Couldn’t be a paladin by paladin’ing it up year round, had to play the warrior in winter and the healer in summer. Year after year. And just cycle my skills in and out and let them cross-class when they could. I like the way you put it Valvolt.

  5. Josiah says:

    THIS IS BRILLIANT! Best way possible to understand yourself and literally upgrade yourself. Writing my stats and skills down on paper like in an RPG game will help me keep track of everything that weakens me or strengthens me.

    • Jon Call says:

      The gamefication trend that is emerging these past few years is one of the very few trends I think kicks ass. Somehow, equating my existence to RPG games while separating myself from the actual games themselves has been an almost magical motivator for me in many corners of life. I’m definitely a fan of the gamefication trend.

  6. Gaurwraith says:

    At first I was not getting it. But it’s like you were “The Party”. If you have to hide in the sadows, you are not going to use the half-orc barbarian. In order to go to class tomorrow and pay attention, I will need some kind of wise guy, I will need to get in the skin of that one, and that one, hopefully, will not want to skip class and take a nap, because that’s not how he rolls. Got to give this a try. 🙂

  7. Valvolt Nova says:

    Thanks man. Ok, so that’s how the class system works around here:
    – WARRIOR: Being strong and buff. Charge into those deadlifts!!
    – PRIEST: Being skilled in not-consumable recovery methods (meditation, sleep, active recovery, injury management, first aid).
    – ALCHEMIST: The 3P (Potions, Pillz and… Poisons ???? XD). All the supplements experience goes here.
    – MAGE: Intelligence class (expert at creating training programs, implementing periodization and stuff). We also learn how to be Mages here, not just stupid, ignorant muscle gorillas or “I see a trick, I jump (and crash) into it” tricking approach. Study your tutorials and play safe!
    – MONK: Mental resilience (being able to psyche up properly, to focus, to endure, etc.).
    – ROGUE: Agility class (Tricking skills, Parkour skills, Kicks).

    Then we might have some sort of compound class (PALADIN, DRUID, etc.). Too hard to properly define those… I leave you to your fantasies.

    But now for the ultimate class: *druuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuums
    – ACROBOLIXER: A mix of all the above! OP WTF PLZ NERF JUJI!!! XD XD

    • Jon Call says:

      Acrobolix trickster is definitely a cross-class haha. Nice work thinking of ways all the traditional classes can be implemented in terms of training. 🙂

  8. Manuel Salvadori says:

    I think this is one of the most INTJish thing you could do, up to the point that every INTJ I know of – included myself – ended doing it from time to time. Lacks of personality leads to create your identity on those four letters, not the four letters themselves.

    I think that MBTI is not our destiny, but it describes pretty well how you’ll most likely approach every situation. Your approach was systematic, typical of an INTj: creating different character for your needs.

    I love MBTI for the power in describing our inner self – which is our choice wheter it will decide our lives or not. It’s to be taken as it is: a test useful to get what’s more useful for yourself, not for taking what’s wrong in you. And it’s freaking good for this.

    • Jon Call says:

      I agree with you whole heartedly. I use MBTI everyday of my life and it can be astoundingly accurate at figuring out what people are expecting,value, or may or may not do, etc. And it was bone chillingly accurate at describing me back when I first discovered it 6 years ago. But my mistake was excusing myself and victimizing myself and limiting myself with it… and others. I’m sure I’m not the only person guilty of this. 🙂

      And also nice job pointing out that this entire article was very “INTJish” in its authorship haha! 😉 Thanks for reading Manuel!

  9. Phil says:

    Read the short story “good old neon” by David Foster Wallace and let me know what you think. It’s highly relevant, not to mention the absolute best short story I’ve ever read. It’s free online.

  10. Fabs says:

    The MBTI has long been considered irrelevant in psychological circles (or at least the science and study-bound ones)
    http://www.indiana.edu/~jobtalk/Articles/develop/mbti.pdf
    http://www.vox.com/2014/7/15/5881947/myers-briggs-personality-test-meaningless
    and other stuff that talks about it not being useful… it is useful, like a back scratcher is useful though.

    Also Juji, I’m requesting that you upload your character sheet. Haha. So we can print it out and fill it up; a reminder of what our strengths are and all that stuff.

  11. Fabs says:

    Page not found. I’ll just rip the existing one and erase everything. Haha. All credits still goes to you, of course. If someone ever sees it and asks me. HA!

  12. Mark says:

    So what are the 3 characters you currently use for training? Just would be interesting to know 🙂

    • Jon Call says:

      Deadlifting character, front squat character, tricking character I’m not using right now. My characters are mostly characterizable by their costume/outfit. There is an interesting quote I read in a book recently about Dorian Yates the Mr. Olympia repeat winner from 1990+ … See if I can copy it here for you: “If the decision was to train, a further ritual began. He had a carbohydrate drink, to boost his glycogen reserves. He wore particular clothes depending on the day: he always wore a hat on days he trained his chest; he wore the same top to a delt workout every time; for the more explicit agonies of leg day, he always wore his ‘leg pants’. He drove to the gym. It took twenty minutes. During that time, he became more focused. The rest of the world slipped away. When he walked in, he acknowledged no one. Regulars knew better than to try and catch his eye. Newcomers might try, but he wouldn’t allow them the buzz of contact. If, in their enthusiasm, they managed it, they would be met by the game-face of the biggest man in the world. Silently, he would prepare all of the machines and free weights that he was planning to use. He’d take a particulare heavy metal tape – on leg day, it was Guns N’ Roses; back day, Aerosmith; Delts day, Pearl Jam – remove whatever music anyone else was playing and turn his up loud. He’d stretch and warm up. This was the last point at which he might pull the plug and back out. Once he gave himself the green light, it was on.”

      • Jon Call says:

        Dorian Yates is an interesting character in the world of bodybuilding history. He was nick named “the shadow” for his habit of hiding all year long except during the biggest bodybuilding competition in the world, Mr. Olympia. Nobody would see him in between those contests, bodybuilding magazines hated him because he was completely adverse to coverage and gossip. He’d just show up, once a year to that contest and ruin everyone’s shit and did that 6 years in a row.

  13. Mark says:

    So when are you starting tricking again?

  14. Tyler Sellars says:

    Man this was a sweet read! I have thought a lot about this subject, and I’d love to get some community feedback on some thoughts:

    It’s awesome, my first exposure to the idea of having a specialized character for a specialized aspect of your life was from another trickster; do any of you remember Dogen? [ Just so everyone knows, I do not mean to call him out or anything, I loved the information he put out for the tricking community back then ]. Anyway, he used to talk about “becoming Dogen” when he tricked, i.e. taking on a character that’s sole purpose was to dominate at tricking. The idea really spoke to me at the time, and really does now. But right after I read what he had to say, I read someone else’s response to the idea, something to the effect of: Why separate yourself into pieces; why not be the unified version who you are, of which tricking is a part? And that put doubts in my head about this technique.

    I am pretty sure I know how you guys will answer (and I am pretty sure that while typing this out I gave my question enough thought to answer it how I believe, haha), but what is your response to that response? Do you guys believe this technique makes you any less “unified”, or any less “who you are”? Or do you think this is just a great technique for being a generalist on a macro level while being multiple specialists on a micro level, or some such similar attitude?

    Again, I think I figured out where I stand in the process of writing this, and I am pretty sure it has entirely to do with what an individual believes is right. But does anyone mind sharing their opinions?

    Thanks for another awesome article, Juji!

    • Jon Call says:

      Thanks for the feedback Tyler. My response is a question, what was that someone else’s reasoning for his rhetorical response? “why separate yourself into pieces; why not be the unified version who you are, of which tricking is a part?” ../ I’ve given my reasons and story why I think playing multiple characters has worked better for me, what were his reasons why unifying his roles into one character worked better for him?

  15. Mark says:

    Oh okay, when do you find using specialised characters useful then?
    P.S. Thats kinda what I was trying to say with my last question, just couldnt think of the right way to word it haha, sorry if it came across weirdly

  16. Tyler Sellars says:

    Wow, massively useful response Juji! I didn’t really evaluate either option objectively in terms of utility, DUH! What’s the point in getting caught up in the philosophy of something when I haven’t even experienced the thing? The bottom line is I am never going to know what works better for me if I don’t try both methods. Not to mention I can really relate to your reasons and story!

    I don’t game much these days, but I can say that EVERY RPG character I have ever made became a weak, useless, bogged down thing as I tried to make him do EVERYTHING. Haha, while I would never berate myself saying I’m useless, I am definitely bogged down with a lack of focus following so many interests!

    I am going to build some characters, level them up, and gain some focus in my work and training!

    Thanks dude, I look forward to future ideas. (Also, I agree about gamefication, it’s pretty cool; you apply it super well to training by the way sir).

    • Jon Call says:

      I’d be curious as to how many people who are enthusiast of the gamefication trends and programs actually do make time to play games. For me, I don’t play games anymore, but like a lot of people I spent a great deal of my childhood and teenage years spent playing these game. As an adult I am not motivated or tempted to play these games anymore, they’re not rewarding. But the process of playing them suggests a lot about our internal reward systems, and the model of these games do provide inspiration for meeting goals and figuring out ways to help us live better lives. So yeah, just be interesting to know if there was some data or survey or poll to see how many people who really life gamefication ideas play games anymore.

      Thanks for the kind words and encouragement my friend. Start small with your characters and give them time to develop. None of my characters were ever born on a “one off” idea… But when realizing the process of their development, and that they ARE developing, helps you play “god” or “dungeon master” and make tweaks intentionally, and not just leave it up to chance. 🙂

  17. click here says:

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  18. jan says:

    Wtf, Dorian Yates is my height. Quadrouple the width, but he was only 177 cm tall!

    Small in height, huge in life! 😛

  19. Trixter says:

    I knew you were a cross-dresser, Juji. I knew it…

  20. PureApeshit says:

    dang juji u left the reddit :((((((((((

    even i find ur shit ridiculous, i have no bad intention to u my brother!!!! im sorry to fail you!!!! i wish u strong health whenever u decide to quit your job and family and join me for the glory write me bro!!!

  21. Who is this Andreas fellla? I like this doodles.

  22. I love this post. I’ve been using more and more RPG analogies for ALL things training. Noob gains? Duh. You go from Level 1 to 2 quickly and easily. But 51 to 52. Meh…yes, harder. More EXP needed.

    Big bosses = big stress = more HP gone = more recovery needed.

    Etc….

  23. Andrea Rodolfo Nadia says:

    @Anthony: That’s me you are looking for. 🙂

  24. PureApeshit says:

    Some talk about coffee

    Coffee for mind is like manual labor for body.

    When you worked manual labor all day and then try go do explosive athletic stuff, tricking or lifting or whatever u will feel like shit, it ate up the muscle juice and u done. If you never do explosive sports shit you will never notice, you will be manual labor keeps me healthy and feels great!

    same with coffee and mind, if you never do hardcore thinking you will never notice bad thing about coffee. But if u big thinker etc, than coffee is worst it makes your brain fire neurons no matter what, just left and right, like manual labor fires your muscles left and right, but its not concentrated directed explosive hardcore stuff, – its just draining ur juice with no result, no growth, no improvement.

    stop drinking that liquid shit and turn brain on, do aggressive attack on unknown shit with your brain like you do with ur body…etc

  25. How does one get in touch with you?

  26. Berto says:

    100% science

  27. Andrea Rodolfo Nadia says:

    Shoot me an e-mail! There’s my address down the first picture.

  28. Mark says:

    Why does trickstutorials.com go down all the time? 🙁

    • Jon Call says:

      Because it runs out of Bandwidth near the end of the month and I’m not paying to increase the bandwidth. It resets this Saturday for the next cycle. Out of curiosity what is it you are looking for? I’m guessing the flexibility section?

  29. Mark says:

    Yeah haha 🙂 The other day I spent like an hour or so reading it and got like halfway through, and then when i re-opened it yesterday to finish it, it was down. So this happens every month?

  30. Mark says:

    Also I was gonna read the old B-twist tutorial on there to get some pointers on that trick, because I’m struggling with it atm

  31. armando says:

    google “web archive” there you can see cached versions of many pages including TT

  32. Armando says:

    google “web archive” there you can see cached versions of many pages, including TT.

    • Dany says:

      Le thème de ce blog c’est « l’empire Weibo ». Si ce ⪅o;&nbsq;mariage&nbspu» a créé des réactions fortes et nombreuses sur Weibo il serait tout à fait étrange de ne pas en parler ici.Et vous parlez d’intelligence?

  33. Mark says:

    Okay thanks Armando 😀

  34. Isidora says:

    this is fascinating, THANK YOU!

    btw im an intj aswell 😀

    • Jon Call says:

      Great! You’re welcome! I need to make a new stretching/mobility character soon for myself for the spring to get ready for some new tricking!

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