Character Building 101

Character is a fictional persona (separated personality shaped by its own experience) embodied by a player during the game. A “role” is the task a character has, like; soldier, bard, beggar, queen, scout, farmer e t c. How you make your living…. what you do.

There are many ways of creating a character for LARP. A common practice for designing characters is to prepare a character sheet – a piece of text which holds important information about your character and their background. It will not only help you design the character but also understand it better. Feel these out in whichever order you feel inspired by.  Examples of the character sheet elements:

  • name;
  • basic identity markers: sex, gender, ethnicity, age, profession, tribe/ group affiliation, nationality, etc;
  • identity markers: personality, backstory, social roles, connections and relationships, motivations and goals, specific ingame abilities, secrets, etc.

There are a few things to consider when building a character in Gimle LARP:

  • Your character should belong to a faction. Gimle is a group-based LARP meaning you should consider the faction’s visual characteristics and general traits when creating your character.
  • Avoid betraying your faction during the game. In Gimle we expect you to stay loyal to your chosen faction – if you disagree, act towards convincing other characters to pursue a different path. Keep this in mind when designing your character.
  • It is very rare to find a mixed-race character in Gimle. They usually have a very good reason for it. It is to be discussed with the organizers.
  • Make your character playable. Tics, quirks and limping can be great fun to role-play but keep in mind you will have to be consistent for 3 days which can quickly become very tiring. Similar goes for any sort of strong behavioral quirks – they will greatly affect your experience. Despising a certain faction is fun, but being unfriendly to everyone can quickly get you isolated. Keep in mind that playing bad characters can be very challenging to play.
  • Gimle is a play to lose LARP. That means you should not be afraid of your character failing – it is much better than having them be good at everything – that is called powerplaying and is generally undesired at nordic LARPs.


Different types of larps use various methods of character design – for some, the process may start many months before the event, for others, just before or even during the game. Parts of character building were taken from the Dive In – the manual for educators and youth workers on EDU-LARP methodology.


By the theory of the character building triangle, the good character should have one or two of the mentioned features and be famous for not having one of them. It can add a good dynamic and keep the character interesting. If a character has all of the features (friendly, competent and proactive) then it may seem not so realistic and superficial, on the other hand, if it lacks all of them, interacting with them may seem pointless and not enjoyable for other players.

For example, very helpful (proactiveness) and funny (friendliness), but a very clumsy cook who cannot prepare any meal without burning it (lack of competence). Or a good fighter (competence) who leads campaigns (proactiveness), but is mean and sarcastic (lack of friendliness). Another example, a scribe, witty, quite amiable, and with a good sense of humour (friendliness), also very skilled in writing chronicles and ballades (competence), but so lazy that he is trying to avoid writing even one sentence (proactiveness). 


Another way of building a character is to choose from one or two Jungian archetypes to serve as an inspiration and fill it with more personalized details.


This technique can add a randomized element to your character building process. That can be very valuable since we often build characters that are very close to home. To avoid this, you can use any meaning-rich images such as: paintings, tarot cards (especially major arcana), Dixit cards etc. Pick them at random then draw inspiration from whatever you see on them. Skip what does not fit and use what inspires you or seems fun.


When building a character you should include bits and pieces from the lore of the game itself. This will make the characters much more connected with the game and thus provide you with content.

  • Draw inspiration from the information accessible on this website: Gimle’s history, map, costumes, faction descriptions and their history, habits and traits…
  • Next, you can also think of what you wanna do during the LARP and what styles of play are you looking for: fighting, rituals, politics, negotiation, trade deals, religious play, potions etc.
  • Some roles have a special function and should be discussed with the GM’s.
  • Gimle is a zone based LARP and northern places have more play around magic than village for example.
  • It’s generally also a good idea to incorporate your desires into the character so you will enjoy it. But in any case expect to go out of your comfort zone at least a little bit.


Here are some questions and prompts to help you build your character. They are taken from Dr. Ruth Bitai-Balyko as presented in the workshop of the Portal 10 LARP conference. 

  • What is your given name, do you have a nickname?
  • Hierarchy? Rank vs social status?
  • Family! Father? Mother? Brothers? Sisters? Are they happy, spoiled or unhappy?
  • Two crucial moments from your life before the LARP?
  • Optimist? Pessimist? Realist?
  • What is your secret that you will drop in-game? (You stole sth, you ran away from home to start over and left friends and family helpless behind, you believe you did sth but then….)
  • Are you more of a worldly character? Do you fear magic? Does magic attract you?
  • What are your views of the world? Religion and foreign ways?
  • What about love? Status?
  • What is your deepest darkest fear, perhaps even irrational or linked to a previous adventure? (That one time you fell into a spider cave and survived. Or that time when you thought you saw your friend being dragged underwater by a vicious mermaid..)
  • How would you best describe your character? Are you a lover or a fighter? A bard or a scholar? A gentleman or a friend? A crazy shaman, or a reserved alchemist?
  • How did you join the faction/group? Were you recruited, are you in debt?
  • What’s your view on your betters? What do you think of those poorer than yourself? Who are you truly loyal to?
  • What’s the plan for the LARP? Are you going to rise within the ranks, or are you trying to get the hell away from everything? Are you trying to get home, or far from home? Riches or adventure, what brings a shine to your eye?
  • What does everybody know about you?
  • What does nobody know about you?
  • What good advice would you give to your character?
  • Dark side, light side …
  • Adjectives (4) – what are the 4 attributes/skills that your character has/is good at?
  • What can/will change you?


  • Play like it’s your special day
  • Share your secrets
  • Never take the easy/straightforward way
  • Don’t forgive easily
  • Repeat things over and over

If you don’t know what to do in LARP… 
stick your nose into something, go radical regarding something, have an emotional breakdown, talk about your secrets, start an interaction: go to someone and ask them what just happened, ask someone else to introduce you to the other person etc.

Different roles

Medic / healer
(Guards and bounty hunters)
Kings Guard
(Battle) Priest
(Lucky) farmer
Warrior queen
Messengers and scribes
(rich Golden Empire nobleman)
Handicraft guild
Ambassador of the Golden empress.
Kings guard
Farm woman
(fighting for her life)
Scholars, druids, wizards, witches
Saxion soldier
Member of the Big Council
A guy with a sword
(One of the roles you are NOT allowed to play at Gimle)
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