My persona- the person I depict in the SCA- is important to me. More than anything it's a focus of my reading, research and construction efforts. I'm probably like most folks who are into history since my fascination doesn't really boil down to just one year, or location. History is full of neat facts, art, fashion, people, music, even beer! But without some kind of focus what you physically represent becomes so blurry that it's not really medieval any more. It is its own anachronistic amalgam of a modern person's interests, colored by your biases, which themselves are mostly modern. A solid persona is the cure for being generic and indistinct. Having this focus allows you to make a Cabernet Sauvignon '96 instead of, um "wine".
The keys for me have been:
1. Start by reading a lot.
2. Make it specific in time and place.
3. Make it a plausible story.
To be honest I don't have a ton of back story, and it's not all that necessary. The time, place and household I put my persona into informs a lot of what I'd be about. For Gaston it's around 1396, and he's a knight in service to Count John of Nevers, the eldest son of Duke Philip the Bold. From that it's clear he's Catholic, who his pope is, what he'd be likely to wear, what he'd be likely to eat, drink, listen to, languages he'd speak, and where he'd be likely to be over the course of a few years. (A hint on that last one)


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