I have a character I built a year and a half ago that I still use to this day. I’m incredibly fond of him, but some people find him a bit...much. I wanted to get some opinions. Anyone up for a character critique?
Personality: Karter is sarcastic, and generally distant. He prefers to avoid company if possible, preferring to focus on doing things on his own. He’s determined to a fault, and once he’s set his mind to something, it WILL get done. He has skills in plenty, and often he brags about them, though he’s out of practice on a good few of them. He’s snappish whenever he’s driven over the edge, and there are a good few things that will send Karter into a rage.
He’s never one to skip out on a fight, and despite his physical challenges, he’s often the one to throw the first punch, and prompts attackers to get them revved up. When put in serious danger, however, Karter will do almost anything to escape- including but not limited to trickery, lying, maiming, or even killing an opponent- and values nobody more than himself. He won’t risk his own life for almost anyone else's. He finds a few rare people and connects with them, and they’re the only ones who have his true trust. Karter is an anxious individual, and has as such trained himself to be an actor. He’s very aware and alert to what’s around him, but one thing always goes over his head. The idea that someone might care about him. GENUINELY care about him, is ridiculous. If anyone shows signs of affection or liking, it'll go over his head and the answer in his mind will most likely be either "that was weird." Or "they're trying to lower my guard." He's very instinctive, and always follows his gut feeling. He has sharp senses, and does his best to put them to good use, priding himself on even that.
He will do anything to benefit himself, even if it means working for all the wrong people. In the end, he doesn't WANT to inflict harm on others in the long-run. He doesn’t WANT to be seen as the 'bad-guy' although he is FULLY aware that in the eyes of many, that’s the role he plays. Bad guy, he can deal with for himself. He knows he has some things about him that would cause people to think of him that way, and he has learned to accept that. He doesn’t want to be the good guy either though for fear of the spotlight. He’s aware of his flaws, and will even acknowledge them, sometimes to the face of others. Karter acknowledges them, but he doesn’t pride himself on them.
He is very aware of what his actions do to those around him, and he is very aware that he doesn’t give a shit. Remorse or guilt? He doesn’t know it anymore. Someone dying because of his actions? No skin off his back.
Karter is flighty, and liable to run from situations, even if it leaves others at risk. He loves the thrill of adventure, though this comes off in his overdramatic streak that leaves him in...precarious situations so often. He puts himself in danger as if he's unafraid on impulse, only to try and back out if a situation becomes too tense. He’s selfish and he knows if, and sadly, he has no wish to change things on that front. He feels insecure about a number of things, and for this reason he wears his hoodie constantly, and someone bugging him to take it off- even if just idly- can cause him to snap. He hates being touched and ordered around, more than anything, and it’ll hit a sensitive point for him.
Karter does have a soft and supportive side, a side that connects to someone. Once he’s connected to someone, he'll stick with them as long as possible. He tries not to become reliant on them, but this rarely works. In turn, he offers support, trust, and love. He hates showing the softer side of himself, even though he acknowledges that it exists.
History: Karter was the youngest boy of his family, with six other siblings, including a twin. His siblings are as follow, in order of age. Addilyn Grace Zael (eldest sister by 4 years), Cole Allen Zael (elder brother by 3 years), Nova Sarah Zael (twin sister), Lashonna Tori Zael (younger sister by a year), Forest Karen Zael (younger sister by two and a half years), June Alice Zael (younger sister by three and a half years). His father was abusive and drunk, and the children got hit from time to time. His mother died giving birth to his youngest sister, stillborn. In blind rage and fury, Thomas David Zael, their father, attacked June, Forest and Lashonna, and then attacked and failed with Nova. Karter took the knife for her and ended up with a scar. He fought to keep his living siblings safe, and in the meantime, Nova and Cole fled. Ten year old Addilyn finally grabbed him and took him away. They found an abandoned old shack where they’ve lived ever since, and Addilyn raised him from then on. Karter became a trader, gathering or making items to trade and sell in exchange for what little they could use, until finally he embarked on whatever adventures his stories take him on.
Best Friend: Hahaha. He doesn’t usually have friends.
Worst Enemy: Oof. Depends. Himself or James, depending on the setting.
Weapon of Choice: Dagger
Sexuality: Bi with a lean towards guys. He/him pronouns.
Weight: 121 lbs
Blood Type: A
Residence: Old shack.
Birth Family: Zael line
Goals: Stay alive. Make a better life for himself and Addilyn. Get back at his father.
Fears: His father. Being unable to do anything, pitch black spaces, being trapped, being alone in the end.
Desired Profession: A fighter or mercenary of some sort.
Current Profession: Travelling trader
Health conditions: Anxiety, PTSD, muscle failure (upper body), Depression
Fatal Flaw: Pride
Greatest Strength: Speed
Special Items: Amulet given to him by Addilyn
Hair: Messy, dark brown and swept over one eyebrow.
Eyes: Almond shape, naturally slightly narrowed, hazel with blue flecks.
Casual Wear: Faded jeans, white t-shirt underneath slightly oversized black hoodie that hides his scar from the left shoulder to just under the jaw. Also wears a leather wrist-wrapping on his right wrist.
Formal Wear: Hahaha. The closest thing he has to formal is a button-up dark blue shirt and black pants. He can’t be bothered with stuff TOO formal since he doesn’t go out much.
Build: Scrawny, with little in the way of muscle.
Interests and Hobbies: Building, acting, drawing, fighting, martial arts.
Education: Elementary school, then self-taught skills.
Languages: English, some French, a LITTLE German, but he struggles with that one.
So I see that he's supposed to be a quiet quick sly type of character. I'm not sure why but many role-players (Especially Twitter) have their character's personality as shy and untrustworthy that's also a badass. It can sometimes drive away people from interacting with YC since it's already hard to try and make friendships with a normal person.
Also you say "he doesn't WANT to inflict harm on others in the long-run" then followed by in the next paragraph "He is very aware of what his actions do to those around him, and he is very aware that he doesn’t give a shit.". These seem to contradict YC. I'm not sure of he has deep remorse for the bad things he does or just genuinely doesn't care. These did bits are scattered throughout the personality side as well. Very minimally though, nothing like black and white from what I can tell.
"Karter will do almost anything to escape- including but not limited to trickery, lying, maiming, or even killing an opponent-". Jesus, I understand that characters can come from all walks of life but what 15 year old would actually do that? I mean it's fine to keep that in but just remember how when you were 15. Would be able to do this at that age? Really think about it, get into the headspace of the character. If this is what YC would actually do then that's totally fine. Would they feel remorseful? Perhaps struggle to make the decision? I'm not sure because like I said above, Karter seems to not really care what his actions do to those around him but at the same time doesn't want to do so.
Hmmm...okay, good to know. Even if he’s not badass and works more behind the scenes, I’ve noticed his...odd personality and tendencies tend to drive my fellow RPers mad after a while.
Ah yes, that. Probably should’ve explained that bit better. Karter's a bit warped and twisted in his own way. Like he won’t go out of his way to hurt anyone, he doesn’t make that a goal of his, but at the same time, he knows that what he does (sometimes he doesn’t really have a choice, for the sake of his own survival) can cause harm. He won’t go seek out an opportunity to cause harm, but he doesn’t care if it happens by accident. Does that make any more sense? Sometimes I’m bad at portraying stuff through words.
Yeah...Karter cares about his own survival above all else. Due to his twisted backstory, he’s grown up basically thinking that immoral actions are normal. He doesn’t know much else aside from the fact that he has to do whatever possible for his own survival. He has yet to actually purposely attack and kill, but he has done so on accident, and yeah, definitely he has remorse for that. Harming someone on accident, nah. Killing someone, even on accident? Yeah. He’s gonna carry THAT around for a while!
Yeah. Almost 20 months of work have gone into him, so I finally decided I needed to turn him over to getting some criticism so I can improve him. He refuses to stop changing. He’s a VERY dynamic character, but keeps a lot of key aspects. Apparently he’s amusing with all his sarcasm, but I dunno. More than anything, he’s meant to either be caught in the drama, or cause the drama if an RP starts slowing down.
Excellent, and no problem. What you explained in your post above perfectly clears my questions up. Try and clean up the personality part of Karter because it goes around in circles a bit leaving the reader confused as to what boundaries and foundation Karter lives upon.