On the Field: Persona Development

      Many have asked me, “Chancellor Hraldr, how can I create a persona? What characteristics do I need to focus on to make it as colorful, and as historical as possible?” It took me a couple of years to truly figure out the answer to this question. When I finally figured this out, I thought, “this should be easy and why did it take me so long to figure it out?” I realized that it wasn’t so easy; the research that’s involved is a strenuous process if you don’t have an idea of what you wish to be. So I began to postulate on what aspects should be focused upon minus any irrelevant details that may get in the way. These aspects are few yet important, for they will make the foundation of your persona’s story.

            The first aspect you should focus on is the culture that you wish to represent. Ask yourself, “where am I from?” This question will take away a large chunk of the difficulty in the creation process; for if you have an idea of where you’re from, you can figure out what clothing you may wear, what weapons you will wield as well as possible timeline to come from. If you deliberate further on this question, you will find many details that will give color to your persona, such as names of the monarchy at the time, a city that you may hail from, as well as particular customs and holidays of the region.

            The next aspect you should focus on is your persona’s occupation. What did your persona do when it was alive? Was your persona formally of the nobility or was it a peasant threshing wheat for the local baron? Maybe you were of the merchant class and you traveled extensively through the world selling your wares. Whatever that persona may be, knowing that persona’s occupation will help greatly help on how you interact with other personas on the field, especially if you have find someone whose persona shares the same occupation as yours. It would also give additional help when it comes to what garb you may wear. The job that your persona has will be a measure of what finances your persona may have experienced in life and therefore would decide what garb that persona would have availability to.

            Another question that you could ask yourself is “what did my persona do for fun?” Having likes and dislikes, as well as hobbies will make further elaborate on what makes your persona what they are. Everyone has pet peeves and revealing these will make your persona look reasonable and helps it to look more like an actual person instead of just some character. If you have a question on what exactly to choose as such, then look to yourself. Ask yourself what your hobbies, what do you like or hate. More than likely you will notice that they can be just as good as making the information. However, stay away from using hobbies that are too modern. It is unbelievable for a peasant from Dark Ages France to have interests in video games or for a Spanish inquisitor to enjoy a riveting round of Monopoly. Putting such information in a persona takes away from its ambience.

            The last question you should ask is “what’s my name?” This is one of the most difficult questions to answer for many people don’t know about naming practices in the dark and middle ages. The average name was usually without a surname which is commonplace in the modern day. In the past, the average name may reflect on a physical feature (ex. Ramon the Black), a city that they may have come from (Rochefort le Alsace), or a job they may be employed in (James the Miller). There were some exceptions prior to the Middle Ages, such as the Romans who usually would have a family name that they would just attach to their own, as well as the women’s custom of adding the family name of their husband and changing their first name to match their husband’s.

            When a persona is created, it should be an extension of you. There will be difficulty to express this as you think about what you wish to be, but if you can answer these questions and apply them, the result will be evident everyday that you step on the field.    

~Sorin Hraldr

Chancellor of Histories


Posted on January 28, 2017 .