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.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- Date Created:
- Profession & Purpose:
- Times, Seasons, Locations:
- Costume / Colors / Equipment:
- Favorite songs or playlists:
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.
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.
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.