Character Descriptions, HAZE Commands, and You

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Gegenwart
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Location: Coffinswode

Character Descriptions, HAZE Commands, and You

Post by Gegenwart »

I see a lot of well played characters on HAZE who don’t have any description on their character sheet. This is often the first thing I look at during an encounter (keep Examine on your hotbar!) but it can be tough to have nothing to work with and makes first impressions hard!

If you rolled up without a description, though, you can easily change it on the fly IG. Below are the commands and some worked examples. The commands can be found IG through !help or on the wiki, but I get the feeling a lot of people don't know that.

Commands
!desc new textgoeshere
This will replace whatever is in your description box.

!desc append textgoeshere
This will let you add text to your description box.

!desc append #textgoeshere
This will add text to your description box on a new line.

!desc append ##textgoeshere
This will add text to your description box in a new paragraph.

!desc reset
This will reset your description box to what it was on creation.
Examples

In practice I find it easiest to write this out in Notepad and copy and paste into the game. My input might look something like this:
!desc new This gnome is around four feet tall, with a bulbous red nose and pale, blotchy skin. His hair is matted and coarse.

!desc append ##A palpable smell of mushrooms surrounds him as if he’s been rooting around in the forest floor for days at a time.
This would output the following in your description box:
This gnome is around four feet tall, with a bulbous red nose and pale, blotchy skin. His hair is matted and coarse.

A palpable smell of mushrooms surrounds him, as if he’s been rooting around in the forest floor for days at a time.
Doing this in a .txt first means I have an easy reference if I want to !desc reset and put new text in, if say our exemplary gnome has a bath or shaves his head.

Theory

But maybe you don’t know how you want to describe your character straight away! That’s OK too. I’ve seen plenty of people generously emote descriptions, but having a character box filled in can help with how others might react to your character even in passing or in short interactions where you don’t have time to emote.

If you’ve never had cause to play on a server that makes generous use of the description box before below are some of my thoughts on what it helps to have. I’m sure others will contribute to this thread with their own approaches.

I always begin from what will be obvious to a casual observer - race (with some exceptions), height, weight, build, skin tone, hair colour, face. Then I move onto less obvious things and regularly visible markings or less obvious facial characteristics - tattoos or scars on face or hands, calluses, eye colour. Then, I may do interaction cues - usual sound of their voice, common mannerisms, gait. Lastly, if this has stabilised for a while in-character, I’ll do their usual clothing, smell if notable, injuries.

So what I might end up with is something like this:
This dwarven man is around five feet tall, thickly set with muscle but sporting a massive gut. His skin is dark brown and his hair and beard are a gleaming black, with the latter obscuring almost his whole face. His hands look soft and well-kept, with manicured nails. Darkly glinting piggish eyes peak out from above his beard and he has a finely done tattoo of scales between his brows. His voice carries the usual rolling tones of the Dwarves, but with a lilting, almost musical quality. He walks with his back ramrod straight, his hands wandering over robes of fine silk and velvet as if to emphasise their quality.
Okay, that’s a lot, but let’s assume our high-CHA Gold Dwarf merchant has wheeled and dealed his way into fancy clothes for a while now. We’ve covered most of the bases, and anyone who reads this will know exactly who they’re dealing with.

But you don’t have to be as wordy as all that. You can be concise and straightforward, even using a list and text approach:
Height: 1.8m
Hair: Green Seaweed
Build: Lithe and skinny

He walks like a sailor and smells like a fishmarket.
You can communicate a lot of important features that aren’t obvious on your model this way, without requiring everyone to spend a few minutes of their day reading your description (like I do).

Don’t Do What Donny Don’t Does

This is very subjective, but here’s what I avoid. First, imposing on others with your description. Something like, “He is so ugly you recoil in horror.” The point is made, but it feels like poor form to me. Maybe their character is into that. Second, putting stats in the description box. I don’t like it for a bunch of reasons - not least because of the diversity of interpretation of stats. Third, making the description a command. If I see “RP for more” I usually think I’m in for a wild ride.

Final Thoughts

I really enjoy a well-crafted description. It helps me get into the headspace of my character a little bit better when I do my own. It also helps me make my character more fully realized when other characters are well-described so I know how my character would initially react to them. Everyone will have their own approach but I think that the more information we have in the gameworld the more immersive it becomes.
Active character: Var Snowfallow
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