Pretendy Fun-Time Games: Charahub

One of the nicest parts of living in the Information Age is well, the wealth of knowledge at our fingertips. Though naysayers enjoy producing comics that show us all glued to our phones, ignoring conversation and refusing to absorb information due to having Wikipedia on standby, I personally think that’s a pretty dismal view of things. Dictionaries, articles, and encyclopedias are available to us at the press of a finger against a smartphone screen, and we’ve all taken advantage of that — as well we should! Research is never a bad thing.

And that, in essence, is the basis of character bibles.

I talked a little about this concept in my last article. A character bible is, in essence, a document you can fall back on when creating a character you roleplay in case you get stuck at any point. It also helps to collect things which remind you of your character, to get a general feel for the fictional person whenever you plan on creating something that involves them. Until recently, character bibles and show bibles (reference materials that contain show canon, settings, and cultures) have been a largely physical affair, constituting a book one can tote around no matter where they’re at. But the Information Age has added a new layer to the creative bible: digital copies, freely available as long as you have a portable computer or wifi access.

Coupled with being able to pull information from the staggering amount of sources available on the internet, and well, you’ve got a metaphorical stew going!

As this is the first article in a series, I’d like to use it to go and provide an option you have to start building your bible: a website called Charahub. If this doesn’t work for what you need, there will be other options explored as we continue, but as a visual representation of all that is bible, this site reigns supreme.

Charahub

When I was suffering from extreme altitis — the creation of several characters because I simply couldn’t find one to focus on — Charahub was my go-to website for compiling character information. And if you want a visual representation of a bible without having to hold an actual notebook you’ve altered, you’ve come to the right place!

I have so much good to say about this website, and I’m unsurprised its been developed after years of roleplayers attempting to share their character influences through blog posts and compilation websites such as Tumblr. The interface is simple without feeling dumbed down, and the framework of the site is presented as though you’re writing in a journal for your character of choice. There’s enough space on your account for one hundred original characters in total, with a limit of ten images for each entry. There’s an option to increase that limit through their referral program, as well as a Gold Account subscription service, which removes advertises and exponentially increases your character limit (250 characters) and image size. But free users certainly aren’t missing out on the websites features.

When in the actual character creation process, there is an option to share your character with the world or to leave the entry private. The bio tab is fleshed out with basic questions to help prompt you in the creation process, as well as providing an Extra tab for anything you believe is integral to your character that wasn’t initially included. The image tab allows for pictures to be uploaded that you see as character influences, or even commissions or art you’ve drawn of their likeness. The links tab is not for URLs but for character connections — allowing you to link your character to other entries if they’re sisters, brothers, coworkers, or lovers. There is even an option to add your character to a group, so you never forget which adventurer is in what party!

The snazziest addition that Charahub offers, however, is the Questions tab.

zombulls

As a roleplayer, I absolutely adore being asked questions about my characters, down to the silly habits they’ve developed as coping strategies towards the world. These questions, compiled by the creator of the website, act as prompts that allow you to flesh out your character. From allergies to their hoarding habits, the questions are a lovely springboard for the character creation process. And if there’s a question you don’t prefer or you don’t want to consider for any of your characters, there is an option to ignore that question in every entry you create.

There are drawbacks, of course, but this comes from personal preference. The chief drawback is the lack of customization, especially in the bio section. I enjoy pulling facets and features such as these for my own bibles, but the inability to organize them into categories I prefer, means that every character profile will read the same, instead of being placed in order of importance for that specific person. If you ignore one question on a profile, that will be ignored on every profile as well — and I’d like a bit more customization in that area, too. If there was another tab for additional hyperlinks, I would love it, as well– so I could show others playlists, pinterest boards, and other such organizational websites that I utilize.

Next time, Ill be talking about an option that expands on what Charahub offers — Scrivener.

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