Character Concept

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
-Howard Thurman

You are a character out of legend. While not Snow White or Peter Pan, your story may be similar. It may be that instead of Cinderella you are more like one of the stepsisters, or even one of those enchanted mice. Design your character with as rich a background as you wish, and we'll be flexible with what we will allow. This is a game about stories, and you should feel free, within the limits of the game world, to write your own.

Here are some guidelines:

  • Make it fantastic, but use common sense.
  • Don't name your character Jack or Jackie. The Jacks are an organization in the Houselands, and that would just be confusing.
  • Don't name your character Prince or Princess. Also, you are not the heir to the throne of Farraway or the Prince of the House of Diamonds. Cottington is a story about common men and women dealing with the uncommon.
  • Children form the foundation of many fairy tales and fables, but we ask that you play a character that is at least believably close to you in age. You see what you see, after all.
  • Our apologies, but player characters cannot be Jacks, Riding Hoods or Grimm Brothers. That may change through gameplay.
  • You may have been a soldier or a mercenary, but you are not one now. Cottington is not currently at war, and not many folks therein can afford the services of a mercenary. When threatened, the people in Cottington Woods generally pick up their torches and pitchforks and face the threat themselves.
  • Your story should be incomplete. If your own personal tale is done when the game begins, you won't have room to grow.
  • We have an occupation system in place, which acts a money skill and replaces any need for a maintenance fee. Generally speaking, however, the folks who live in Cottington Woods are not rich.
  • Come to each event with a goal or goals that you can accomplish on your own. Don't be disappointed if those goals are not met, since every other character will have goals of their own, and they may be counter to yours.
  • We'll have events for you to join or things to overcome, and we'll attempt to spread those events around, but having your own agenda will make sure you always have something to do. This is a game about stories, and you should feel free, within the limits of the game world, to write your own.
  • Characters in Cottington Woods are encouraged to be “good”. They do not have to be “pure”, and a bit of darkness can always make things interesting. but we will not reward evil behavior. Don't play evil – you won't enjoy the plot that will attract.
  • You have come to Cottington for a reason. The default reason we provide is to schedule your business with the other members of the Cottington Woods community, but you are welcome to come up with your own.
  • Cultural clothing from distant places is allowed. With roads and water routes, the Ways, the Mists and even goblin Door Magic, traders have covered the lands. Consider, however, that Cottington is a working community. It's very possible you will find yourself crawling through passages, or running through the woods.
  • If you consider being part of a group or team, you could be part of a single homestead, or it could be a collection of tradesman traveling together to town.

Have fun with it. We'll take histories of any length. We're pretty open about what we will let you play, but we do insist that every character has a plot approved character history before we'll allow you to play.

Important Note:

You must have an approved Character History to play Cottington Woods. This means that you must submit a history to Plot Staff no later than two weeks prior to your first event and have received approval to play that concept. Please submit concepts to

Questions to Consider when developing your concept / writing your history:

  • Occupation
    What does your character do to support himself? Characters in the Cottington Woods game are not required to pay a maintenance fee. However, each character must declare what he does to make a living. This does not need be the same as your header. You could be a Warrior whose occupation is Baker, or a Man of Science who is a Brewer, for example.
  • Where are you from?
    Your cultural background doesn't tell us everything. Where were you born, and where did you grow up? Where were your parents/caretakers from? What were the influences in your upbringing that shaped who you are? Where does your character consider home, or at least "this is who I was"?
  • Who are the people who had an impact on your life?
    Who raised you? Who is your family (blood, chosen, or otherwise)? Who are the people that influenced who you became, whether friends, lovers, mentors, rivals, enemies, etc? Are they still alive, or dead? What was their importance to you? Think of the people and the moments that led your character to be who they are, feel the way they do, have the loves, desires, fears, and ambitions that they have. Now tell us about them!
    You are welcome to reach out to staff if there is an existingNPC that would fit the person you want to include in your history. You can also leave some of this undefined, and allow Plot Staff to fill in the blanks.
  • Are you coming in knowing any other PCs? If so, who are they and how do you know them?
  • What are the moments that had an impact on your life?
    What happened to your character to shape who they are now, and led them to where they are? Did you lose a loved one, or your home? Did you undertake a quest? Did you take on a responsibility? Pursue a dream? What events, either within your power or outside of it, changed the direction of your life? It could be as simple as a kind (or harsh) word that led you down a different path, or it can be as life-altering as the death of a loved one, a failure, or a personal quest.
  • What motivates or drives you? What goals do you have?
    Your story should be incomplete. If your own personal tale is done when the game begins, you won’t have room to grow. These can change as the game goes on, but you should come into game with motivations or goals, as this gives you something to pursue outside of the main storylines and a reason to interact with other players and NPCs. (As a side note: Characters in Cottington Woods are encouraged to be “good” and ultimately to be "heroic". They do not have to be “pure”, and a bit of "darkness" can always make things interesting. But we will not reward evil behavior. Don’t play evil. If you want to be evil, come NPC for us instead.)
  • Why are you coming to Cottington Woods (and why would you stay)?
    You should devise a reason to come to the Cotting House, even if that is "I come to do business, or I come to gather to hear the stories of travelers." But also consider the reasons why your character would stay (or return regularly) once they are there.
  • Do you, as a Player, have goals for your character that your character may not have?
    For example: perhaps your character has a hard time trusting people because of past trauma, and always keeps people at arm's length. Your character thinks this is the best thing for them, but you, as a Player, want to be able to grow your character and have storylines that teach your character it's okay to love again. Letting us know this is a goal you want for your character helps us make better storylines for you.
  • What are your fears?
  • What do you love? What brings you joy?
  • Are there things you loathe, or prejudices you have?
  • What are the other internal things that affect your character?
    You don't necessarily have to answer this in detail, but do think about these questions. What matters to you? Are there lines you would never cross? What are the ones you would, and for what reason? What are you curious about? What does your character secretly (or overtly) strive to be? What do they hide from the world, and what do they show? Do you like yourself? Why or why not?
  • How would you face the uncommon?
    You do not need to write this out in detail, but Cottington strives to tell the tale of the common people faced with the uncommon. Consider: how would your character react to the uncommon? What would you do if you heard a cry for help in the dark woods? What do you think of fairies, and what would you do if faced with one? What of monsters that once only existed in tales your parents told you as children?
  • Are there things you are putting in your history that you want staff to leave alone?
    For example, perhaps you put in your history that your character's father died because it was a defining moment in their life. But you don't want Staff to do anything with that - either you want them to remain dead (so no plotline where they are suddenly alive), or you don't want a storyline that involves dealing with that grief. Or perhaps you put a True Love in your backstory as motivation, but you absolutely do not want us to cast an NPC as that role. Let us know, so we leave it alone.
  • Are there things in your history your character doesn't know?
    For example, you as the character only know that your fiancé was murdered and don’t know by whom, but you as the player inform staff in your history that he was actually murdered by your brother because you want that to be a tension point later on if and when it is revealed.

Cottington Woods © Copyright 2012
Designed by Jonathan Heard