The art of the bad CoX character bio

Adrian Bott
A. Bott|08.17.08

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Adrian Bott
August 17th, 2008
The art of the bad CoX character bio
City of Heroes has a feature missing in some other games: a space to write your character's biography, or 'bio' as it is often called (not to be confused with the other meaning of bio, which causes characters to go afk in the middle of raids and the like, with fatal consequences). Some players ignore this altogether, or use it to write insightful comments like 'people actually write stuff here?' Others prepare touching or funny character histories.

Some, however - a gifted few - come up with that shining jewel of the CoX experience, the Incredibly Bad Character Bio. There are far too many players out there who take guilty pleasure in spotting them. On certain communities that we will not mention, the most spectacular examples are screengrabbed and posted for the amusement of others, with the relevant names blocked out, so as not to cause undue embarrasment.

This is not an exercise in elitism. Truly awful bios are a thing of beauty and a joy forever. But bad character bios don't just happen. There is an art to them. Let us give you some hints.

1. Gibberish is your friend
If you can't think of the right word to use, make one up. Don't worry if other people won't know what it means. Don't worry if you don't know what it means. 'He was the son of a fire wielding mutant' is wrong. 'his motherfather a sub deth kick hellion skul' is perfect. As is 'he challenge himn to FIGT!! but everthing fail and no one'.

2. Roleplay bios must always attempt to dominate the reader
Thinking of writing one of those wordy roleplayers' bios? Good for you! ((Remember to introduce it like this, in case people accidentally think you are a superhero in real life.)) The art to getting the roleplay bio right is to tell the reader how their character is reacting. Don't write something limp-wristed like 'His dark eyes betray a tortured past.' Go for the jugular.

'As his dark eyes bore into yours you feel yourself grow cold within. You want to run away. This dark stranger is clearly far more powerful than any hero, any villain, you have ever met, and yet his dark manner is that of one who scorns to be labeled with such mere labels. You feel yourself move from fear to awe. You wonder from what distant plane this dark traveler hails. ((female characters only:)) You fear him and yet you are strangely drawn to him.'

3. Namedrop as many signature characters as possible
Your character should be the child of a signature hero or villain. Preferably of two. If you want to make them the illegitimate love child, that's even better. Feel free to mention that the character publicly overthrew Lord Recluse, is dating Miss Liberty or killed Statesman; canon is there to be beaten roughly about the face and neck, not adhered to. Your character was Manticore's baby from a secret Crey male impregnation experiment? Go for it!

4. Punctuate fervently or not at all
Either write your bio like this:

' jeroboam bonemonger, he was the son, of evil parents, they were undead, they moved, to the rouge isles, but lord recluse baineshd them... so they moved, to paragon city, and then statesman said, you cannot live here, so they took there son, they went to dark astora, they raised him in a tomb, of the DEAD......!!!!!!!!!'

or like this:

'momma was a kitty daddy was a tiger dont ask lol so she is a fast clawin dirty fightin girl with tigger stripes she kicks but and scratch bad guys eyes and run like the wind she likes pink and she fight faster than anythin in the whole world meowwwwww every1 watch out for the pink kitty girl'

5. Aim to end with an incoherent yet passionate declaration
After all, your bio is just another way to talk to people, right? So you have to finish off with something proud and punchy for the reader to remember you by. (Use all caps for preference.) Such as:

'GO GO GO HELIUM WALLABY!'
'I CHALLENGE U TO A FITE I WIN!'
'ASTROBONANZAH IS HERE HURRAY FOR ASTROBONANZAH!!!!!!'
'I DETH FIST YOU!!'

Now go. Hunt. Read bad bios. Learn the dark art. Craft your own, and send the world screaming to the point of the brink of the abyss of the ultimate of TORMENT!!!!
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